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Buying a Car: Hidden Costs of Ownership - Video

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2015

There's a lot more to owning a car than just a monthly payment. In fact, there are many hidden costs of ownership you should know about before you sign the papers. Our latest video covers a few of the most important hidden costs so you won't be surprised when you're buying a car.

One cost you might not immediately consider is insurance. Insurance premiums can vary greatly based on where you live, your driving record and what you drive. Even the specific trim level and engine size of a car can affect your rate, so call your agent to discuss before you buy.

You should also consider taxes and registration fees, which are often tied to the value of the car, meaning the more expensive the vehicle, the higher the registration fee -- a big deal for drivers on a tight budget.

Then there's maintenance: Many car owners don't realize until their first maintenance visit that luxury and high-performance cars are more expensive to maintain than mainstream models. Many parts are special order, and many technicians require special skills to work on these cars.

Something else to consider: Before you upgrade to larger wheels, you should know that the bigger the wheel is, the more expensive the tire will be. Depending on your driving habits, you'll need four new tires every few years, so make sure you can afford the long-term upkeep.

And remember, while many late-model cars come with cutting-edge technology, some require subscription fees for certain features, such as SiriusXM radio or GM's OnStar system. Although these features may include trial subscriptions when you're buying a car, you'll soon have to foot the bill yourself if you decide to keep these features active.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Buying a Car: Hidden Costs of Ownership - Video - Autotrader